Chez Panisse Eggplant and Carmelized Onion Pasta

The big news on this end is that Jon and I are moving to Baltimore! I’ll be starting a new job next month, helping to grow a really great nonprofit, and I really can’t wait to get started. We flew out to Baltimore a few weeks ago to apartment hunt, and signed a lease a really charming carriage house – quite a change from our open DTLA loft, but much more homey. The new kitchen is also absolutely gorgeous – lots of counter space! lots of light! Gas stove! I’m incredibly excited for new culinary adventures.

Back in LA, things are perpetually hot and summery as always. I’ve been pretending it’s fall by making lots of stews and hearty dinners.The other night I made my little sister Grainne’s signature pasta recipe (well, “little” sister I should say, as she’s super tall now and towers over me!). I’ve always been a bit of an eggplant addict and a pasta addict, so this really hits the spot. I think the secret to the dish really is the red pepper flakes which give it a bit of a kick!

The recipe is originally from the Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley CA, and I’ve adapted it from the online recipe, available here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1-2 yellow onions
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1-2 cups of plain tomato sauce
  • red pepper flakes
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • pasta of your choice (I use gluten free)
  • grated Parmesan or Pecorino
  • chopped Basil (for garnish)

1. Chop the eggplant into small squares. Add a generous sprinkle of salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt) and place in a baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400. When the oven is ready, pour olive oil over the eggplant, mix to coat evenly, and bake for about 1/2 hour.

2. Once the eggplant is in the oven, finely chop the onions, and cook in a saucepan over medium heat with a sprinkle of salt for about 1/2 hour (until caramelized). When the onions look ready (translucent but not brown), add in the garlic cloves and cook for a moment more. Add a dash of white balsamic vinegar to the pan.

3. While the onion and eggplant is cooking, cook the pasta al dente, and put aside.

4. When the eggplant is ready (a bit golden on the edges), add to the saucepan with the onions. Cover with the 1-2 cups of tomato sauce, add a generous pinch or two of red pepper flakes, and cook until warm.

5. Combine the cooked pasta and the sauce. Sprinkle chopped basil on top, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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